The pick of the region’s early store lambs were on parade at Skipton Auction Mart’s opening seasonal show and sale. (Wed, July 13)
The packed pens at Skipton for the annual store lamb opener.
With 2,546 lambs forward, strong trade was the order of the day, with the overall average selling price of £65.68 per head up a heady £12.13 on the 2010 opening store lamb sale, reflecting current confidence in the sheep sector.
Craven Cattle Mart’s livestock sales manager and auctioneer Ted Ogden commented: “It was a great show of lambs for the seasonal opener, with a number of large annual consignments slightly stronger on the year, helped by recent good grass growth. The strongest end were generally £65 to £74, with medium keep lambs £57 to £64 and several pens of smaller longer keep lambs £50 to £54.”
As in previous years, buyers flocked from many parts of the country, with a sizeable number of purchases destined for sheep farmers in the deep south, among them a host of consignments secured by show judge Tony England, who is based in Tiverton, Devon, and also farms 2,000 ewes in Scotland near Edinburgh.
Mr England buys over 4,000 lambs a year, many Mules among them, at Skipton for his customers in the south. He said: “They like northern-bred sheep. They are hardy and do well and are always well presented. Another big advantage is that you can buy them in much bigger, well-matched lots – up to 150 at once. In the south, it is only possible to buy lambs in 10s or 20s.”
Tom Heseltine is pictured in the Skipton ring with hisMr England awarded the championship to a pen of 50 Beltex-cross lambs from Tom Heseltine, whose family trades as JGE Heseltine & Son at Hesketh Farm, Bolton Abbey, also home of the popular working farm visitor attraction Hesketh Farm Park.
opening store lamb champions.
The Heseltines farm around 1,000 ewes on their 600 acres, the majority Beltex-cross and Texel-cross, and sell all their store lambs at Skipton. It was the first of their 2011 batches that secured the opening stores championship, selling for £68 a head to John Bowling, of Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan.
The second prize 50-strong Texel-cross pen from James Hall, of Darnbrook in Malhamdale, sold at £71.50 each to Northamptonshire purchaser Robert Woodward, but it was the third prize pen of 50 Suffolk-cross lambs from last year’s champion Michael Parker, of Winterburn, that headed the day’s prices at £74.20 apiece when joining regular Skipton buyer Paul Watson, Hellifield, who also paid £69 a head for the fourth prize pen of Texel-cross lambs from Bear Park Farm, Carperby, Leyburn.
Suffolk-cross lambs averaged £68.52 (£53.40 in 2010), Texel-cross £64.78 (£53.72), Charollais-cross £65.07 (£50.12), Beltex-cross £65.57 and Mule lambs £59.50.
The show was sponsored by livestock supplements firm JG Animal Health, represented by Jonathan Guy.
The second annual show of store lambs, which again forms part of the fortnightly sale, takes place on Wednesday, July 27, when the Robert Morphet Memorial Trophy will be presented to the best pen of 50 Suffolk-cross lambs. There’s also a special show and sale for Down-cross lambs and a special sale of early breeding ewes.
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